Guide to Local SEO

By reading this guide, you will understand the basics of local SEO, one of the hottest SEO trends, and will be well on the road to promoting your local business on the web. Sound what you have been looking for? Start reading!

Sometimes Local SEO is seen as being not as valuable and beneficial as an international SEO campaign. I can assure you it is far from truth and I can prove it. Local SEO is a highly targeted, niche strategy that every business needs to think about.

What Businesses Can Benefit From Local SEO

Not every online business has a physical location and there is nothing wrong with this. But if you do possess a physical (brick and mortar business) location, you’re the one who can take a full advantage of investing in a long-term Local SEO campaign.

Local Citations and Backlinks

When it comes to Local SEO, local citations are an absolute must. You can’t outperform your competitors and get your website ranked high on the first page of Google without having it set properly.

Local Citations have almost the same weight as backlinks. Of course, links still matter, when you’re performing Local SEO but citations are just as vital.

What is a Local Citation?

A local citation is your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) listed on your website and in a local business directory.

For your website you need to create a locally descriptive About Us page that provide readers with your NAP, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, testimonials from happy customers, and more.

Something to keep in mind, your “NAP” must be exactly the same, every time that you post it online or within a local business directory.

Local Profile Pages

To start off, you need to look around and create a local profile of your business everywhere - get on every social media platform you can find as well as local directories like Google My Business, Yelp and TripAdvisor. As I mentioned above, make sure your name, address and phone number are all consistent and on every medium.

1) Google+ Local

Create and verify a Google+ Local page for each of your locations.

Get your customers to write reviews for you.

Let’s face it: ratings and reviews are an enormous conversion factor, more influential for getting users to click through and make a purchase than any other local SEO tactic. Now you understand that you should make it a priority to get your current customers review your business on Google+. Once you get more than 5 Google+ local reviews, you can start gaining the little yellow stars next to your local search listing.

Optimize your business categories.

Google+ Local profiles allow business owners to declare their type of business category. Add at least 4-5 categories related to your business, including both broad and specific categories.

2) Yelp.

You need to be very careful with Yelp. Compared to Google+ local, you can't be asking for reviews on Yelp. Yelp’s policy is: “You can't ASK for reviews, but you CAN let your customers know you are on Yelp.” So to promote your presence on Yelp, you need to embed a Yelp badge on your site.

3) Build Directory Citations.

Creating a local listing is time-consuming, but that’s exactly what a local business must do. What’s more, the directories should be filled out with as much information as possible. Then verify that your citations are consistent and complete across all those directories and remove any duplicate listings you find.

4) Earn Local Links.

Another way to improve your local search presence is by earning links from local sources. This tactic is much harder to accomplish because it is in the radius of someone else’ control, but the key here is in the word "earn." Creating high-quality content that is worth linking to is the only way to catch the eyes of the local publishers and readers.

Whether you’re a small local shop or a major national player, you can’t ignore local SEO and need to start thinking about your local SEO strategy. This guide will help you jumpstart your local SEO. While claiming your business profiles on local business directories is a one-time activity where you can set it and forget it, building reviews and publishing locally relevant content is an activity your business needs to embrace on an ongoing basis for a long term local SEO success.

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